San Salvador, El Salvador - Michael Landers (Old Westbury, N.Y.) fell short in qualifying for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games after the third day of table tennis at the Pan American Classifying Tournament. He still has several other opportunities to qualify the United States boy's position later this year.
The 15-year-old wielded his padded through the quarterfinals with a 4-2 decision over Gustavo Gomez of Chile and was tested in the semifinals by Cuba's Hector Sola. Landers eventually won the semis with a 4-3 count.
In the finals, Landers faced Pablo Saragovi of Argentina for the second time in the tournament. In another set of seven games today, No. 1 tournament seed Saragovi proved too worthy with a 4-3 decision over Landers. The American star had a 2-1 lead after three games, with the final slot for the Pan American tournament on the line in the seventh and final deciding game.
Yesterday, Landers fell in the finals to Rodrigo Tapia of Ecuador, 4-3, after having a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven contest, which left his one more chance on Wednesday. On the first day of competition, Saragovi and Landers alternated games with Saragovi advancing.
No. 1 seed Ariel Hsing (San Jose, Calif.) dominated the girl's competition on Monday to qualify for the Youth Olympics. The American duo is coached by Lily Yip (Warren, N.J.), an elite-level coach for USA Table Tennis.
The Pan American Classifying Tournament, hosted at the Sports Palace, qualified six athletes for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The top three athletes in boy's and girl's divisions will represent their respective country this summer in Singapore.
Boy's qualifiers: Eric Jouti (Brazil), Tapia and Saragovi
Girl's qualifiers: Hsing, Caroline Kumahara (Brazil) and Carelyn Cordero (Puerto Rico)
The United States can qualify one boy and one girl to compete at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, Aug. 14-26. Table tennis will be one of 26 events contested at the inaugural multi-sport youth event. The international event will attract at least 5,000 athletes and officials from the 205 National Olympic Committees. The table tennis athletes will be between the ages of 15 and 16. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games aims to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.
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About USA Table Tennis: USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States. Created in 1933 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. Its staff serves the 9,000-plus members and nearly 300 clubs that are affiliated with USATT. It oversees a wide variety of membership services, the national teams, rules of the game and numerous online instructional and historical articles. USATT is governed and run by the nine-member board of directors, committees and professional staff. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the world governing body for table tennis, as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
U.S. RESULTS Day #3
Pan American Classifying Tournament
San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 1-3, 2010
Finals - Rodrigo Tapia (Ecuador) def. Michael Landers (Old Westbury, N.Y.), 4-3
Semifinals - Landers def. Hector Sola (Cuba), 4-0
Quarterfinals - Landers def. Diego Ruiz (Columbia), 4-1
Preliminary - Landers def. Andree Velasquez (Honduras), 3-1